Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop of Lincoln, 1807-1885
“…Unity in error is not Christian Unity; but, by imposing the necessity of erring as a term of Union, Rome became guilty of a breach of Unity; and so the sin of Schism lies at her door…
“…The Book of Revelation, thus viewed, as it ought to be, is a divine Warning of the peril and unhappiness of all who are enthralled by Rome. And its prophetic and comminatory [threatening] uses ought to be pointed out by all Christian Ministers, and to be acknowledged by all Christian congregations. And they, whether Clergy or Laity, forfeit a great blessing and incur great danger, who neglect these divinely appointed uses of the Apocalypse, particularly in the present age, when the Church of Rome is busy, with more than her usual activity, in spreading her snares around us, to make us victims of her deceits, prisoners of her power, slaves of her will, and partners of her doom.
“But in discharging this duty, the Minister of the Gospel must crave not to be misunderstood.
“Having a deep sense of the danger of those who dwell in Babylon, he will never venture to affirm that none who have dwelt there could be saved. The Apocalypse itself forbids him. On the very eve of its destruction the voice from heaven says, Come out of her, My People, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues (Rev. xviii. 4). And so, we doubt not, God ever has had, and still has, some people in Babylon.
“Many, doubtless, there were in former times in our own land, who had not the blessed privilege which we enjoy of hearing the voice, Come out of her. They had not the warnings of the Gospel: to them it was almost a sealed book. And this, too, is still the case with many in foreign lands. And, since responsibilities vary with privileges, and God judgeth men according to what they have, and not according to what they have not (Luke xii. 48. 2 Cor. Viii. 12), therefore Christian Love, which hopeth all things (1 Cor. Xiii. 7), will think charitably, and if it speak at all, will not speak harshly of them.
“All this we readily allow. But then we must not shrink from asking, What will be the lot of those who hear the voice, Come out of her (Rev. xviii.4), and yet do not obey it? And, still more, what will be the portion of those, –the recent converts, as they are called, and others who follow them, who, –when the voice from heaven says Come out of her,–go in to Babylon, and dwell there?
“Again: the Minister of the Gospel, to whose case we have referred, is obliged, for fear of misrepresentation, to say, that he readily acknowledges, and openly professes, that Christianity does not consist in hatred of Rome.
“We are not of those, who, in the words of an eminent Writer, ‘consider the Christian Religion not otherwise than as it abhors and reviles Popery, and who value those men most, who do it most furiously.’ No; the Gospel is a divine Message of Peace on earth, and good will towards men (Luke ii.14). The banner over us is Love (Cant. Ii.4). No one is safe, because his brother is in danger: no man is better, because his neighbour is worse. Our warfare is not with men, but with sins. We love the erring, but not their errors; and we oppose their errors, because we love the erring, and because we desire their salvation, which is perilled by their errors, and because we love the truth, which is able to save their souls.
“We know that Error is manifold, but Truth is one: and that, therefore, it is not enough to oppose Error: for one error may be opposed by another error; and the only right opposition to Error is Truth. We know, also, that by God’s mercy there are truths in the Church of Rome as well as errors; and that some who oppose Rome, may be opposing her truths, and not her errors. But our warfare is against the errors of Rome, and for the maintenance of the truth of Christ. We reject Popery because we profess Christianity. We flee Babylon, because we love Sion. And the aim of our warfare is not to destroy our adversaries, but to save their souls and ours. Therefore in what we have said on this subject, we have endeavoured to follow the precept of the Apostle, Speak the truth in love (Eph. Iv.15); and if, through human infirmity, any thing has been spoken otherwise, we pray God that it may perish speedily, as though it had never been.”
UNITY IN ERROR IS NOT CHRISTIAN UNITY
WordPress Source: The Antipas Chronicles
Original Source: Wordsworth – Union With Rome – Chapter 3
Usually I don’t comment on quotes, but this is one I respect so much because it fights against Rome’s insistence that Bible-believing Christians and confessional Protestants are schismatics who destroyed the unity of Christ’s body, when it is Rome who broke away departing from the faith once delivered to the saints. Not only this but, Wordsworth holds out hope for those trapped in deception, and demonstrates the love that is the love of Jesus Christ.